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Union tourism minister wants to control pub culture

Shripad Naik’s call for strict regulations on nightclubs comes days after a Goa cabinet minister’s demand to ban mini-skirts

Panaji: Pub culture will not be promoted and must be controlled because it often leads to “unwanted things”, Union Minister of State for Tourism (independent charge) Shripad Naik said on Saturday. Naik was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a tourism-related event on the outskirts of Panaji.

Goa minister calls for a stop on the promotion of pub culture
Goa minister calls for a stop on the promotion of pub culture. Representational pic only 

“Pub culture will not be promoted as it leads to unwanted things,” Naik said, when asked to comment on a controversy last week after a Goa cabinet minister demanded a ban on mini-skirts, saying revealing clothes and pub-culture were against Indian traditions. He, however, shied away from questions about the proliferation of the casino industry in Goa, claiming it was a “state subject” and that the chief minister would be the right person to answer the query.

Goa is one of the most popular beach tourism destinations in India and is known for its nightlife as well as its pubs and clubs spread out in coastal areas.

He also added that efforts are being made to control escalating air fares during the holiday season and to slash visa rates in order to compete with cheaper tourism destinations. He was referring to cheaper destinations in South East Asia, Maldives and Sri Lanka. Asked if the government was working on ways to rein in escalating air fares to sought-after beach tourism destinations such as Goa during peak holiday season, Naik said the ministry was “trying to control the air fares”.

He added that the central government was trying to work out a cheaper tourist visa regime, which would make India a more attractive tourism destination and help counter its regional rivals. “We are trying to reduce our Indian visa fees,” Naik said. He pointed out that for a foreign traveller, an Indian tourist visa cost $100, but a tourist visa to countries like Maldives costs only $25.

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